My wait for Ruby began around the tail end of the 38 week mark. I had Penny at exactly 39 weeks and was fairly positive that Ruby would come at the same time too.
I had been having contractions in the evenings for several weeks but nothing like the real thing. My midwife had started to check me at 37 weeks, when I started at about 2cm and stayed fairly constant over the next several weeks. Days passed, and I reached my "estimated due date" (March 4th). No baby yet. I began to despair.
That week I decided to get swept, which kick started some things into action but ultimately I wasn't going anywhere. We had several nights where I would have some consistent contractions but they'd peter off in several hours. We invited my parents up for the weekend so that they were already here as we planned for them to watch Penny when we checked into the birth center. That Saturday we went to our local pool (which has an awesome kids water park) and my 6 year old niece dragged me around the pool ("c'mon Auntie - let's go down the lazy river!!") and kept me very active. That night I started another round of good contractions - lasting a minute to a minute and a half and 4-7 minutes apart. We got excited, thinking that tonight may be the night! But alas, morning came and a very grumpy Bianca emerged from the bedroom for breakfast with the family. False labor - you are a cruel bitch.
So it was Sunday, March 9th. I was 40 weeks and 6 days. My parents were going to leave in the afternoon. I began to get anxious because I knew that as soon as they'd leave I'd go into labor and they'd have to turn right back around. Adam and my stepdad took a quick trip to work on a school project together and were gone for a couple hours, during that time my mom and I sat and chatted while I tried to keep my mind off my gloom. Around 1:00 a round of contractions started - this caught my attention. My contractions always started after dinner; very rarely did I ever feel anything before 5:00. I kept this to myself but eventually my mom noticed that my attention was elsewhere and she asked if I was having contractions. The guys came home around 2:30 with lunch (at my request: spicy Thai food) and at the table I continued to have contractions and I was getting on edge. We timed them - 1 minute long, 4 minutes apart. Adam decided to call the midwife to see what she thought. Darlene thought it still might be early but agreed to meet us at the birth center around 4:15 to see where I was at. So at 3:45 Adam and I kissed our sweet Penny goodbye and took off in hopes that I'd be bringing home a baby shortly.
My birthing room was prepared when we arrived and Adam turned on a good Pandora station that he knew I'd like. My midwife checked me out - 4cm, not fully effaced. But these contractions were real. She gave us three options - go home for a few hours, go for a walk, or break the waters. I definitely didn't want to go home because I was afraid that the contractions would stop and that it would mean bringing Penny back into the situation when she's completely content with the grandparents at the moment. So we opted for a walk.
We walked up and down the streets in a nicer part of downtown Everett. The rule was that I had to walk through my contractions; no matter how hard it was or how teeny tiny my steps were, I had to keep moving. It. was. hard. Many of these contractions were painful enough where I was openly weeping as we walked. I lamented over what a sight I must be - a clearly very pregnant woman, in her sweats, bawling her eyes out and clinging to her husband. I thanked my lucky stars that this wasn't a small town or one where we could possibly run into someone! The icing on the cake - we walked by the local events center and they were just finishing up the home and garden show, so a ton of strangers got to witness this as well!
After an hour we returned and I got checked again. Sorry honey, no progression and your baby is sunny-side up. We were presented with the 3 options again - home, walk or water. Home still wasn't an option, walk was no longer desirable because it was getting dark. My birthing team was completely confident with breaking my waters because I was past my due date and all other risks were low. I decided to go for it - it was time to have a baby.
It was within a minute of breaking my water that I went into transition. In an attempt to help turn baby, the team had me do lunges using the side of the birthing tub. Lunges through 5 contractions, on each side. Oy. I got through my round of 5 contractions on my left side before I crumbled into my husband's arms and we decided to go into the water. This was an immense relief, though the contractions were still coming very fast and very hard. I remembered with Penny's birth that I was able to 'check out' in between contractions and rest. There was no resting here. Even in between contractions I was uncomfortable and barely paying attention to what anyone said.
The urge to push came a lot sooner than I expected and I pushed for several rounds on my knees and hanging my upper body over the edge of the tub, using Adam as support (the same way as I had done with Penny). Eventually it was time to get baby out (her heat rate had dropped) and I switched to being in a sitting position and was told to push with all my might. I got to the point where I knew I had either approached the ring of fire or I was tearing - the birth team urged me on and with a couple pushes I had my sweet baby girl in my arms!
With tears in our eyes we spoke to Ruby for the first time, welcomed her into this new world and marveled over her perfect features. She weighed in at 7 lbs 15 oz, 20.5" at 7:16pm. That's a full pound heavier and almost 3 inches longer than her sister was, sheesh!
From the moment that my water was broken to babe in arms was about an hour and 3 minutes. The only family who knew I was at the birth center were my parents - the paternal grandparents, aunts and uncles were all surprised with a picture text of Ruby and I!